The biggest differences between Baldur's Gate 3 and D&D are: | GAME3A

The biggest differences between Baldur's Gate 3 and D&D are:

Baldur's Gate 3 implements modifications to align with the ruleset of the 5th edition of D&D, ensuring that players consistently experience enjoyment...

Levi Winslow Aug 30, 2023
The biggest differences between Baldur's Gate 3 and D&D are:

Baldur's Gate 3 implements modifications to align with the ruleset of the 5th edition of D&D, ensuring that players consistently experience enjoyment.

An example of such a modification is the replacement of the grid-based movement system with a line-based movement system, which provides greater flexibility during combat.

Another change is that alignment is no longer a prominent factor in the game, but players still choose an alignment, and breaking an oath as a paladin carries consequences.

Over the years, numerous Dungeons & Dragons video games have been released, aiming to adhere to the rules as closely as possible, depending on the genre. In role-playing games, game designers strive to faithfully implement the rules, yet changes are inevitable.

In the case of the Baldur's Gate series, the first two installments accomplished admirable work in adapting and making necessary changes to the rules of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. Baldur's Gate 3 follows a similar path, but with the ruleset of the 5th edition for D&D. The modifications made in the latest installment serve not only for adaptation but also to ensure that you consistently have an enjoyable experience, regardless of the choices you make.

10 Grids Are Out, Lines Are In

Baldur’s Gate 3 Biggest Differences From D&D

Battles in Dungeons & Dragons games generally employ a game board divided into a grid, with each square representing five feet of movement. This determines the number of squares each character can move during their turn in combat.

In contrast, Baldur's Gate 3 utilizes the movement system developed for Divinity: Original Sin 2. Each character has a specific amount of movement per round and can freely navigate the battlefield along a line created by the player. While the movement rules of D&D still apply, such as opportunity attacks, there are some subtle differences due to the absence of a grid. For instance, you can find yourself simultaneously surrounded by more than eight creatures.

9 Alignment Is Gone

Baldur’s Gate 3 Biggest Differences From

In earlier editions of Dungeons & Dragons, alignment defined a set of ethical and moral principles that characters adhered to. This even applied to player characters who, during character creation, would choose an alignment and then had to abide by those moral beliefs.

In the 5th edition, while you still choose an alignment, it plays a minor role unless you are playing a class like the Paladin, whose core mechanics are based on their moral convictions. However, in Baldur's Gate 3, alignment has completely disappeared. There are still devils and angels that behave as expected, but you are free to act as you wish. In this case, paladins must choose an oath, and breaking an oath carries intriguing consequences.

8 Spell Changes

Baldur’s Gate 3 Biggest Differences

The spells in D&D are designed with a Dungeon Master in mind, someone who can balance the most unpredictable outcomes. In a video game, you have to account for all possible results, and even then, players will find ways to break the game. That's why many spells had to be simplified, and it was not a problem for damage-oriented spells.

However, other spells had to be heavily toned down as there was hardly any way to make them functional. Disguise, although still useful, cannot be used as a free pass to escape prison, and most NPCs will still recognize you. Yet, the spell that is most affected is Polymorph, a spell with boundless potential in D&D, which in Baldur's Gate 3 is limited to transforming humans into sheep.

7 The Bonus Spell/Cantrip Rule Is Gone

Baldur’s Gate 3 Biggest

The most overlooked rule in the D&D Player's Handbook can be found on page 202 (at the time of this writing). It states that if a character casts a spell as a bonus action during their turn, the only spell they can cast with their action must be a cantrip. Many DMs and players overlook this rule, which means spells like "Healing Word" are much stronger than they should be.

The rule regarding bonus action/cantrip spells is no longer present in Baldur's Gate 3. It is now possible for characters to cast a spell as a bonus action and use a regular spell as their action. This means that clerics can cast both "Cure Wounds" and "Healing Word" in the same round.

6 Improved Classes And Subclasses

Baldur’s Gate 3

Balance is not as crucial in D&D as it is in video games because if players are too powerful or too weak, some adjustments by the Dungeon Master can ensure that everyone has fun. In the absence of this flexibility, video games must ensure that each class functions as intended and at least provides enjoyment when used.

That is why certain classes have undergone significant revisions to make them just as compelling choices as more popular classes. Rangers, monks, and rogues are among the most affected, but small changes can be found throughout. The most notable change concerns the ranger's favored terrain, where instead of gaining improved travel abilities, they now receive a permanent elemental resistance.

5 Magic Items Are More Common

Baldur’s Gate

Magical items are rare in the current edition of D&D. The designers have chosen to grant player characters more abilities in response to this, while the few items that do appear are stronger but come with new limitations, such as a limited number of uses per day.

Baldur's Gate 3 heavily relies on the engine of Divinity: Original Sin 2, and many magical items from that game have been adapted for D&D. As a result, it is common to find +1 items, potions, and scrolls. The magical arrowheads and explosives from Divinity: Original Sin 2 can also be found in Baldur's Gate 3, and they can perform area-of-effect attacks that leave effects on the battlefield.

4 More Varied Bonus Actions


The action economy in both D&D and Baldur's Gate is the same: one action, one bonus action, and a limited movement capability. However, not all classes have a use for the bonus action unless it involves drinking a potion. This results in most players performing their action and ending their turn, thereby wasting the bonus action.

In Baldur's Gate 3, many fundamental actions were created so that regardless of your class, you don't feel like you're wasting resources. Shoving, dipping, and jumping are a few examples, and although most of these actions exist in D&D, they are usually associated with other things like attacks or movements.

3 Resting Changes

The way players restore their resources such as health and spell slots is through resting periods. When you rest, you have to choose between a short or long rest, essentially deciding between taking a nap or a deep sleep. In D&D, the difference between rest periods lies in the amount of time, specifically the time you can spend without any threats.

In Baldur's Gate 3, the difference had to be adjusted since, due to the nature of video games, players can spend a lot of time inactive. Short rests can now be taken immediately as long as you are not in combat, but they are limited to two per long rest. Long rests can only be taken at your camp, and their limitation is the availability of camp supplies. So, if you don't have any food, you cannot take a long rest.

2 High Ground Rules

Although there are many rule changes from D&D, one of the most significant rules in combat in Baldur's Gate 3 does not exist in D&D. This is mainly due to how combat is presented, as in D&D, grid-based combat tends to be mostly flat with few elevation differences, as it is not only difficult to represent them but also challenging to calculate the distance to engage.

Baldur's Gate 3 makes it much easier to handle elevation. In fact, most combat encounters involve a certain level of verticality. Therefore, they can add rules that are easy to follow, such as the rule of elevated position. This rule states that it is easier to hit someone when you can aim down at them from above, while it is more difficult when you have to aim upward.

1 Preparing Spells

The most significant rule change so far clearly concerns the preparation of spells. In D&D, classes that need to prepare spells can only do so during a long rest. As a result, the player must be aware of all available spells to avoid overlooking any crucial ones.

In Baldur's Gate 3, it is generally only possible for one player to manage multiple characters, making it nearly impossible to keep track of all these spells. To address this, you can change your prepared spells whenever you are not in combat. This allows you to select more specific spells and prepare them only when needed. This is particularly useful for wizards who have access to incredibly powerful spells.